Dreaming of Marseille: How We Got On House Hunters International 500th episode

Our family was featured in Reality T.V. Show House Hunters International. I was really surprised to hear that the show we were on was a milestone episode. The 500th one to be exact. It ran between the 19th and 21st. of June 2012 and it was called “Dreaming of Marseille”

This is a video update and response to readers questions

I received a lot of email from people who ask me how we got on House Hunters International. Many readers also wanted to know why France? I decided to make this video as a response and summary.

In case you missed it, the official episode description follows

After losing their high paying tech-jobs, Annie and Blake spent a year with family in Montreal and Maryland before deciding to take a chance on a better life in the south of France.

She wants to start a home business teaching people how to take a career break to travel or live abroad for up to a year, he wants to write a book, they both want more time together with their three kids. They decided that the answer to all of their dreams can be found in Marseille. They just need to keep to firm budget as they’ll be living on savings until Annie can get her home business up and running. Watch as House Hunters international moves the family to Marseille, France.”

{{UPDATE: Here is the actual episode we were on. Thanks Katherine and Scott for getting this to me. }}

Thanks for watching. Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to sign up for email updates. Feel free to contact me or ask me questions or tell me what kind of content you are interested in reading about.


ANNIE!! Just love your videos! What an awesome story!! Can’t wait to see where you go from here!
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    Annie Andre

    Me Too Lisa, i have no idea where we’ll go. I’ll be watching you too; my product creating friend. LOL, you’re videos are so amazing too..

Craig McBreen

Hi Annie,

My wife and I watched the show and thanks to you she’s now more amped-up than ever. Ready to start downsizing NOW! Heck, I might be writing about this in the future.

Also: You most certainly do have the skills to pay the bills when it comes to video. I think you’re a natural.

Anyway, so cool and inspiring what you guys did. A big virtual high-five for inspiring dreamers everywhere!
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    Annie Andre

    Thanks Craig,
    I’m seriously looking into the video idea. we’ll see.
    I’m so glad your wife is jazzed up about taking the plunge. Downsizing is actually very liberating.

    We started with the garage and after that it just got addicting. But the books were hard. We had a room full of books and it was painful to let them go. Nostalgia.

    As always, hit me up anytime you need some help.

Sylviane Nuccio

Hi Annie,

Wow, that was great. I tried to watch the show, but couldn’t find that channel. Not sure I have it or not. If there is a way to watch it somehow, please, let me know.

I had to laugh because I love crepes, cheese, muscles and baguette and you mentioned them all in your video.

Very cool story and how interesting that you attracted those TV people to contact you. The world is small with the internet and everything is possible.
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    Annie Andre

    Don’t worry, when i get my hands on it i’ll post it somewhere. I still have not watched it either. It should be posted online in a couple of months?

Dan Sumner

Hey Annie,

Another very cool inspirational video for people to watch.

Things are really taking off for you around here, well done. I’m loving the new look to.

I haven’t watched the show before and would like to see it, but not sure they have it in the UK. Maybe I can catch it on YouTube.

Congrats again Annie on a great new video.

Love the Crepe’s :-)

Dan Sumner
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    Annie Andre

    when i made the video and put in the crepe part i was thinking about you. LOL, Too bad i can’t air mail you some crepes.


Oooh, can’t wait to watch this! On my way out to unplugged couple of days, and then the big Summit. But this will be a treat when I return. I might learn a little too..
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Love it Annie! I hope I can be as hip as you when I am a mom with 3 little ones. You live a very exciting life.
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    Annie Andre

    LOL Meg. You are already way cooler and your just beginning your journey.


You know I watched it on day one…I was thinking…she’s gonna get the 1st one because it was so much bigger. What a dream to move to a new country and set up shop. I love that you guys just went for it. If you ever get back my way in California, make sure you look me up. It’s not like you don’t know where I live anyway..small world Annie!
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Ken Pickard


What a treat. Not only did you make it on the show, but on the 500th episode. That’s awesome. Congratulations!

It was a different experience watching the show since I had just talked with you a few hours earlier. I was thinking you might actually take the third house. But it really looks like you guys made it your own.

Again congratulations.

Ken Pickard
The Network Dad

    Annie Andre

    Hopefully that different experience was a good one. We did make this house our own and now we are going to move to a smaller town. Although Marseille has been good as a hub it’s too urban for us to live longer than one school year. We now have a cute little place in a smallish town where little french ladies pull their shopping cart with their pet dogs and dozen flours. It’s really that quaint. chat to you soon.


Just wondering if you both are collecting unemployment benefits while living abroad.

    Annie Andre

    No we havn’t collect unemployment for years. Since before we left california in 2010.

Victoria Olsen

Am a teacher in Bay Area. Have been wanting to do this forever. You are so brave. Loved your House Hunters segment rebroadcast July 2012!

    Annie Andre

    Thank so much for watching the show and the kind words. I had been wanting to do this for a long time too. Especially with my kids. I’m not sure what grade level or kind of teacher you are but the benefits for the kids are 10X what i ever imaginged. People are so worried about their kids education suffering if they go abroad. The positives far outweigh the negatives by a long shot.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting and hope you realize your dreams soon.


What a great website, and that Househunters video you posted is so inspirational!

(Truth be told if I were in your shoes, I would have stayed in Montréal! I studied there for my masters and my goal right now is to immigrate to Québec.)

I have one big question and you may have answered it elsewhere on this website:

How do you live in the South of France legally? Usually on House Hunters people are transferred for their jobs, so all the immigration stuff gets taken care of. Or, they’re just buying vacation homes. Do you have EU citizenship already? Or do you leave periodically so you don’t overstay a tourist visa? Or did you go through the whole long paperwork process despite not having “real” jobs?

This issue is rarely addressed when people talk about living wherever they want to or being “location independent.” (That’s not a criticism, I’m just really interested.) It seems like the immigration issue is an even greater obstacle for many than the “no job” issue is.

    Annie Andre

    Going back to Montreal is not out of the question for our future. But for now this is where we want to be. Staying in Montreal is like staying in my own backyard. I wanted something different for us and the kids. Plus the kids are getting the chance of a lifetime to see a different part of the world.

    To answer your question, we don’t have an EU citizenship. US and Canadian citizens can only legally stay in France for a total of 90 days without applying for a visa. You can’t do a border run to a non EU country and come back to get the clock ticking again. You have to leave after that. ( i used to do border runs to renew my visa when I lived in Asia). It’s much more controlled here.

    Yes we went through all the paperwork To legally stay here and we applied for the “long stay visa” which allows us to stay up to one year. It allows us to stay here and put our kids in school but we are not allowed to work or draw from the social security system here. We self fund our health insurance. We plan on renewing our visas for another year. The cost of living is very affordable for us compared to what we were paying and we really want our boys to be more fluent in French for a variety of reasons.

    I started doing a monthly report a few months ago which addresses “location independent” where i talk about how i’m making progress to creating a business that will allow us to be location independent. Even if we end up going back to the states or Canada. Location independent means you have the option and freedom to work anywhere you want IF YOU WANT to. I will address this more clearly soon in some future articles and put it in my about page or a FAQ page.

    Thank you for all your questions. It’s really helpful to know what information people are looking to have answered. I try to keep it real and not glamorize our lives. Because we are here working extremely hard but we’re also having the time of our lives and doing it together with our family. Fond memories to be had for sure.

Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

Great video Annie! I would have chosen apartment #1 too!
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Annie Andre

Great! post , What a great website, and that Househunters video you posted is so inspirational!


Hi Annie,

First of all, you have a great site! You have one of the best websites that provide details on living abroad. Did you use an international moving company to move your belongings to France? If so, please let me know about the experience and the cost involved.



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